Letter: My Comments Were Misrepresented

To the Editor:

Valley News columnist Jim Kenyon’s version of my comments in his Nov. 7 column “Seeing Signs,” which I only recently read, was completely off the mark.

I never said that all abortions should be outlawed. I believe that when a demonstrable case is presented for the physical health of the mother, abortions could be allowed. (With that said, I have seen numerous cases where women were counseled to have an abortion because the pregnancy could possibly endanger their health and life, only to carry the child to term and have everything turn out fine.)

Also, I have met with many couples who were told that Down’s syndrome was indicated during amniocentesis. Nevertheless, the children were carried to term and no Down’s syndrome was evident. To be fair, I have met with couples whose children were born with Down’s. I have never heard those parents speak of their child as a burden or wish they had aborted. In every case, they called their child a blessing.

These observations come from over 35 years of working with couples in stressful situations.

My comment was that just because a woman was raped, a criminal act, doesn’t mean that the child in her womb should be punished. Would the violent, deadly act against her child negate the rape? Would not bringing that baby to term, offering it a chance at life and taking the knocks that life often gives be better than ending that life?

I told Kenyon that life is characteristically unfair. Would the unfairness of the rape, however, be eradicated by the unfairness of ending the life of a child who never had a choice in both the rape and the abortion?

It was then that Kenyon began arguing with me. He spoke of women’s reproductive rights and of the sentiment of an alleged majority of Americans that abortion was OK.

I don’t mind that he disagreed with me. Such dialogue is good for America. However, he began to argue with me and then “reported” a sentiment I never espoused. It was obvious that he was a liberal journalist writing for a liberal newspaper with an agenda.

Reporters are supposed to interview people and clearly report those sentiments without skewing or misrepresenting them.

Peter A. Heilemann